As a Georgia grand jury investigates Donald Trump’s behavior following his election loss in 2020, the former president’s team has turned to one of Atlanta’s most respected and influential lawyers.
Dwight Thomas has represented many of the region’s most prominent defendants in high-stakes cases for more than four decades. According to former prosecutor Clinton Rucker, who spent more than 25 years working major cases for that office, the fact that he has consulted for the Trump team may be a sign that it is taking Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ investigation very seriously.
“If you hired Dwight Thomas, you’re dead serious,” Rucker, who is now a municipal court judge, said. “You absolutely believe that you have some exposure and you want to make sure that you have somebody that is skilled enough to not only examine the issues, but you want somebody who ultimately can go in and fight and win.”
Willis’ office confirmed Willis spoke with Thomas about the case, and that the D.A. would only discuss the case with attorneys involved in it. Willis and Thomas had a conversation, according to Yahoo News. In an email, Thomas declined to discuss his involvement, citing grand jury confidentiality rules. According to a source familiar with Thomas’ involvement, his work involves “consulting” about special grand juries and the laws that govern them.
Trump has denied all allegations of wrongdoing concerning his conduct after the 2020 election.
In recent months, the special grand jury has subpoenaed dozens of Trump supporters and allies. It has also heard testimony from state officials involved in an infamous phone call on Jan. 2, 2021, in which the then-president told Georgia election officials, “I just want to find 11,780 votes” — the number required to overtake Biden’s lead.
Few defense attorneys have as much experience with special grand juries as Thomas, according to Rucker. Special grand juries are distinct in that they focus on a single investigation and can be appointed for a longer period of time than regular grand juries. Willis wrote in January that the special grand jury would have “an investigative focus appropriate to the complexity of the facts and circumstances involved.”
Among Thomas’ current and former clients are a slew of celebrities and politicians. He is currently listed as an attorney for Alfred Megbuluba, a 32-year-old indicted on murder charges for allegedly pushing a woman out of a moving Lamborghini. According to another attorney involved in the case, Megbuluba will enter a not guilty plea. Thomas recently represented Jason Lary, the mayor of a suburb of Atlanta who pleaded guilty to fraud charges stemming from a scheme to steal more than $900,000 in COVID-19 relief funding.
Closer to home, Trump represented Vernon Jones, a then-Democratic local politician, in a number of cases. Jones rose to national prominence after endorsing Trump’s reelection in 2020. Jones later switched to the Republican Party.
According to campaign finance records, Thomas has mostly donated to Democrats, including $2,000 in 2021 to Sen. Raphael Warnock, who is running for reelection against Trump-backed challenger Herschel Walker. Georgia attorney Jason Sheffield, on the other hand, said it’s not surprising that Thomas would take on a prominent Republican client.
Sheffield said he recently called Thomas for advice before taking on a high-profile, contentious client. Travis McMichael was one of three men convicted of murder in the racist killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was out jogging when he was pursued and gunned down by three White men in pickup trucks.